Aquarium equipment

Setting up your aquarium is this easy!

You can decorate and furnish your home to your taste with table, chairs, carpets and cupboards without needing to hire an interior designer or to purchase expensive art. The same applies to your aquarium!

The equipment in your aquarium is dependent on two factors: What demands will your fish have and what suits your personal taste? Let’s start with the second factor. What fish species would you like to keep? Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi? Then you need a rocky reef aquarium. Goldlfish? Then hardy plants are the only option. Or a jungle aquarium with a shoal of tetras, catfish and a pair of dwarf cichlids? Then you need wood and a lot of plants

What aquarium type suits you?

In “Essentials” you will find 4 themed aquariums with all the information you need, including a film, a setup guide, a shopping list and the electricity consumption.

Jungle aquarium type JBL Rio Pantanal®

A bit of jungle river in your living room. Lively underwater action! No problem with the JBL Rio Pantanal® aquarium

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Rocky reef aquarium type JBL Malawi Rocks®

The fish of Lake Malawi are as colourful as the fish in the coral reefs. This aquarium brings a bit of freshwater reef into your living room

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Goldfish aquarium type JBL Goldfish Paradise®

Lively goldfish in the aquarium enhance any room perfectly! Invite some new flatmates into your home with this goldfish aquarium

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Aquascaping aquarium type JBL Dreamscape®

Mountains, valleys, meadows and fish! Create your dreamlike landscape under water with the Dreamscape® aquarium

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General tips

And if you can’t find what you need with our theme aquariums, here some general tips to set up an aquarium:

Fish stock

First select fish stock with species which are compatible and that you like. Keep in mind their suitability for your aquarium size.


Your selection of fish now determines your choice of substrate: Substrate how fine the substrate needs to be and whether it can be sharp-edged or not when choosing bottom dwelling fish. You are totally free in your choice of colours since fish really don’t mind either way. If you want to insert a lot of plants we recommend you add in a long-term substrate fertiliser ( JBL PROFLORA AquaBasis plus ). Put a layerof the substrate of your choice over the substrate fertiliser. The ground may be flatter at the front than in the background area of the aquarium. With the help of a dedicated spatula ( JBL PROSCAPE TOOLS SP STRAIGHT ) you can perfectly and simply design or smoothen the ground to the desired look.

You will find a selection of substrates here: Substrate .

Stones and roots

Now you can put in stones and/or roots. You are free to choose the layout. Remember to create a few hiding places for your future aquarium dwellers where they can withdraw. Please add larger stones BEFORE you pour in the substrate so that they can’t slip later. Please glue together higher stone constructions with JBL PROHARU UNIVERSAL or JBL AquaSil transparent to prevent them from falling apart. Please take also into account that you can hide technical equipment with stones and wood (filter inlet, heater, CO2 diffuser, surface skimmer) inside the aquarium. A lot of roots are buoyant. You can test this using a big bucket. If your root is floating you can tether it to a stone with a nylon thread. After about 4 weeks you can carefully remove the thread.

Installing technical items

Now install the technical items. Attach the suction pipe of the filter (for external filters) or the complete filter (for internal filters) to the aquarium. Then, please attach the water-return pipe (filter outlet) to the same side of the tank in order to optimize water circulation in the aquarium.

Pouring the water in

The basic framework has now been set up. You can now either pour in the water or insert the plants, before filling with water. This is a matter of opinion. We find it more practical to add the plants first because you can see at once how the plants unfold in the water and how much space they need.

Adding plants

When inserting the plants please take into account how high the plants will grow and how much space they require to their sides. Lower remaining plants should be at the front, whereas higher plants are better positioned in the background. You can purchase a lot of plants in plant pots at specialist shops. Please remove the wool-like material from the plant roots and prune the roots with scissors ( JBL PROSCAPE TOOLS S STRAIGHT ). Then carefully insert the plants into the soil. Sometimes the plants get out as quickly as you insert them. A good help here are plant clips ( JBL PROSCAPE PLANTIS PINS ) and long pincers ( JBL PROSCAPE TOOLS P STRAIGHT ).

Special cases

A lot of labyrinth fish build foam nests and need floating plants at the water surface. Bottom dwellers, such as loaches and armored catfish need a “soft” substrate, which means no sharp-edged grit or lava rock ground! Many cichlids are cave breeders and look for cover in a new home. To satisfy this need, coconut shells ( JBL Cocos Cava ) or other caves are available ( JBL Ceramic spawning cave ).

There are fish species for which every plant is seen as food. For these fish you unfortunately need to forgo plants or you have to rely on plastic plants. But for many plant-eating fish species it is also possible to take countermeasures with lots of fast growing plants. Fish also jump and unintentionally depart from the tank. A good cover or a securing of the corners and loopholes in the cover pane may help against “dried fish”. It is easy to plug such holes with foam.

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